Real Tales From The Phoenix Center…
The Phoenix Center at Auraria is a small office on campus that most people walk by and don’t even ask what we do or why we do it. We could be easily missed on your way to the restroom or the pizza parlor, or an aside to the conversation about services on campus. The Phoenix Center at Auraria is unobtrusive to the general student population and I think that works both against us and for us. It works for us because someone who has been through a trauma can come in and seek services in a very confidential way. It works for us when by word of mouth people learn about who we are and what we do. It works because we are the people who will talk about the tough topics and open the discussion in a personable and appropriate fashion. It works because we are willing to be there for everyone who asks for our help. An advocate with the Phoenix Center at Auraria is there to guide a person who has experienced interpersonal violence through all the channels to help bring understanding to an otherwise unknown arena.
Our unobtrusive location can work against us because people don’t know what a victim’s advocate is or does, they don’t know we can answer questions or just listen. It works against us because sometimes people turn down the volume when they hear words like domestic violence, sexual assault and rape and then they miss the opportunity to hear about the other services we provide. I am constantly surprised by the acceptance of another person’s behavior just because it is the norm. We are in the age of technology where people hide behind their computers and justify degrading, debasing and defaming actions because they have anonymity. Cell phones are used for tracking the whereabouts of your partner, while computers are used to stalk and harass your ex. In this age of the recorded voice asking you to select an option we could use a real person to help put life into perspective. In a crisis victims appreciate empathy and compassion in the voice of a person who is there to help. Victims need a real, living, breathing, feeling person as an advocate.
The services that are provided by the Phoenix Center are indispensable and should be a fixture on the Auraria campus until information, education and advocacy are no longer needed. The Phoenix Center is staffed by a family of people who care about social change, who work hard to make a difference and are dedicated to educating others. I am proud to be a part of something as desperately important and needed as the Phoenix Center at Auraria. The word about the Phoenix Center at Auraria is slowly spreading and hopefully our geographic location can remain non-descript but what we do for the students on campus will be as well known as the building we are housed in.
By Deborah C
Victim Advocate and Violence Prevention Educator
Phoenix Center at Auraria